Dr Subramanian Swamy was waiting for the Delhi polls to be over before he broke his silence on the budget in an interview to NewsX. In an exclusive interaction he commented that on 1 February, he knew that the BJP would lose Delhi after such a budget. “Before that I was hopeful that we would win”, he said, pointing out that while good economics alone cannot win elections, bad economics can make you lose one. He commented that the Prime Minister was not being given the right feedback by his advisors as no one had the guts to tell him the truth. “PM met a roomful of 40 economists but you know that they say, with 40 economists you will get 41 views,” he quipped. When asked if he still wanted to be Finance Minister, he retorted that he was not saying all this because he wanted the job, but it was out of concern for the oncoming economic crash, which, he now says, there is no avoiding. Swamy’s point finds many takers, for the budget has failed to enthuse. Most will agree that in the end, it was not so much CAA that the youth all over India—in various college campuses—were agitating about, it was the lack of prospective jobs. If you fix the economy, then you will win the vote, with or without CAA.
MESSAGE FROM THE RANKS
Unlike the BJP, the Congress did not even bother to put up a fight for the national capital. It simply saw the opinion polls and packed its bags. And when the results were out, it did its bit by cheering for the Aam Admi Party for so decisively beating the BJP. This attitude may have suited the older lot, but not the Generation Next, which is finally asking some of the right questions. One of the first to speak up was Sharmistha Mukherjee (Delhi Congress leader and party spokesperson), who countered Chidambaram’s tweet congratulating AAP, by saying: “With due respect sir just want to know—has Congress outsourced the task of defeating BJP to state parties? If not then why are we gloating over AAP’s victory rather than being concerned over our drubbing?” Another young Congress leader who reacted was Jaiveer Shergil, who had tweeted earlier, on the morning of the results, “Three things the Congress should not do today: Justify its own defeat, find happiness in BJP defeat and tell themselves that in elections wins and losses are cyclical.” This is not unlike what some others, including the erstwhile “Young Congress MP”, have been saying, for I have heard Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot and Milind Deora too speak about the need to reinvent to keep in tune with the changing times and for the party to find its own positives to take to the voters instead of riding someone else’s bandwagon. Clearly, the young in the Congress have a very pertinent message for the older guard, and its leadership. They are the ones with the most at stake—but is anyone listening?
NEHRU VS PATEL
The Nehru vs Patel debate was once against stirred up at the launch of historian Narayani Basu’s biography on V.P. Menon, a senior civil servant who worked closely with Sardar Patel. In her book, Narayani Basu claims that Nehru had indeed first excluded Patel from his Cabinet and only added him later at Mountbatten’s urging. Now this is a debate that certainly suits the current government’s narrative and so this nugget was immediately picked up by S. Jaishankar, who released the said book. He later tweeted that “Learnt from the book Nehru did not want Patel in his cabinet and omitted him from the initial list”. This led to a Twitter war between Jaishankar and historian Ramachandra Guha, who commented that “promoting fake news about, and false rivalries between the builders of modern India is not the job of the Foreign Minister”. Congress leaders like Jairam Ramesh and Shashi Tharoor joined this debate on social media. It’s a debate that is not going to end anytime soon, especially with the Prime Minister himself bent on bringing Nehru back into the political debate. for the BJP knows all too well that if it has to demolish the Congress (Congress Mukt Bharat) then it has to first attack the party’s strongest pillar. And so history makes a comeback in our political present.